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Around the NPB Horn: Last week before Spring camp begins

by on Jan.25, 2010 @ 5:25 pm, under NPB

Chiba Lotte Marines

...Shunsuke Watanabe opened up his training to the media on Monday.  He held a bullpen session and tossed about 80 pitches with the catcher squatting.  Watanabe has been working on his delivery during the off-season.  He also picked up a new type of off-speed pitch.

...Yuki Karakawa was invited to be a race starter at the Sanspo Chiba Marine Marathon on Sunday.

There's currently some talk about making Karakawa a PR ambassador for Chiba.

Chunichi Dragons

...Wei-Ying Chen added suspension training to his workouts.  Seems a training coach in Taiwan that studied in the US recommended Chen try suspension training.

...Yuichi Hisamoto held his first bullpen session in about 10 months on Sunday; he tossed about 20 pitches and was happy with how he felt.

Hisamoto joined other Dragons' players like Takuya Asao when they went to the Dominican Republic for the Winter Leagues.  Since he wasn't going under orders of the team, he had to pay for the trip out of his own pocket, but he doesn't regret that one bit.  Hisamoto feels the extra rehab he was able to do in the Dominican Republic really helped him out.

Hanshin Tigers

...Minoru Iwata, Yuya Ando, Atsushi Noumi, and Yasutomo Kubo will likely be the first four starters in the rotation.  The other two spots?  Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, Shinobu Fukuhara, Casey Fossum, Kai-Wen Cheng, Keiji Uezono, Ikketsu Sho, Kazuhito Futagami, and Masanori Fujihara will all likely compete for those final two spots.

...Kubo appears to be heading towards a Spring camp that he'll be paying for out of his own pocket.  Seems he hasn't received any updates from his agent and isn't really worried about starting Spring camp without a contract, so long as it's done before the exhibition games begin.

...Takahiro Arai will be taking 5 bats of varying weight with him to Spring camp -- the lightest bat will weigh 920 grams while the heaviest will weigh 960 grams.  Arai had been using a 910 gram bat up until now.

...Kei Igawa's advice to Minoru Iwata on how to be a successful pitcher:

  1. Set the pace of the game.
  2. Create a body that's capable of completing a full season (stamina and conditioning).
  3. Enjoy the pressures of playing the game.

...Former Tiger Koichi Tabuchi will be dropping by the second block of Ichi-gun Spring camp in Aki City.  He's hoping to have a chance to sit down and talk to Kenji Johjima.

Hiroshima Carp

...Takuro Ishii is just 351 plate appearances away from becoming only the 8th player in NPB history to reach 10,000.  While that total might be difficult to reach during the upcoming season because Ishii is basically a player off the bench (319 in 2008 and 246 in 2009), he's hoping to prove to the team that he's still capable of playing a high level and worthy of as many opportunities as possible.

...17 players arrived in Okinawa on Sunday -- they will be taking part in a mini camp that begins on the 25th.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...Romash Tasuku Dass is grateful for all the help Yu Darvish provided him during their training together.  He also managed to push his weight up to 83.4kg (from 78kg).

Dass and the rest of the players that worked out with Darvish got together and printed t-shirts with the words "Team Darvish" on the front.  All in homage to Darvish.

Orix Buffaloes

...So Taguchi wants to get into as many games as possible before the start of the regular season -- that includes practice games and exhibition games.

...Akinobu Okada and various members of the front office visited Ikuta Shrine on Monday to pray for a successful season.

Rakuten Eagles

...Teppei apparently fractured his left index finger in a game against the Nippon Ham Fighters on 8/9.  He said that it took a while for the finger to fully heal and that he played with some pain during the Climax Series.

Teppei played in 47 games after fracturing the finger and still managed to bat .313 during that period.

...Hisashi Iwakuma tossed a 55-pitch bullpen session on Monday; it was his first bullpen session of the year.

Iwakuma's first bullpen session last season came on January 20th.

Seibu Lions

...Shuichiro Osada held a bullpen session and tossed about 40 pitches.  It was his first bullpen session where he had the catcher squatting.

Osada is currently working on tweaking his delivery a bit, specifically how he moves his glove hand.

Softbank Hawks

...Kenta Nakanishi closed out his training with Hanshin Tiger Kenji Johjima on the 22nd and resumed his workouts on Sunday in Saitozaki.  Nakanishi has been working on strengthening his lower body.

...Shinsuke Ogura wants to be the "king of throwing" during Spring camp.

Ogura held his third bullpen session this year and tossed about 100 pitches.  He told reporters that he'd like to try throwing 200 pitches and would like to throw at least 1,000 pitches during Spring camp, if not 2,000 pitches.

Shingo Tatsumi tossed 1,451 pitches last season, tops on the team.

...Hiroki Kokubo returned to Japan on Sunday from his training in Arizona -- as did the other 6 players that went with him: Kazumi Saito, Yuya Hasegawa, Arihito Muramatsu, Sho Iwasaki, Kenji Akashi, and Akira Nakamura.

Kokubo managed to put on 2kg during his stay in Arizona.  He did get his weight up to 94kg at one point, but that settled to 92kg.

...Akio Mizuta and Yasushi Kamiuchi took part in Spa!athlon on Sunday.

Yakult Swallows

...Kenichi Matsuoka is working his way back from left elbow surgery (he had it cleaned out) in November.  While he'll be starting at Ni-gun Spring camp, he's hoping he'll be able to make the Ichi-gun roster for opening day.

...Norichika Aoki is already struggling with his allergies.  He told reporters that it's the first time he's ever had problems with his allergies in January.

Aoki was apparently trying to avoid doing anything for his allergies (like taking medicine or getting shots), but it seems he caved and purchased some nose mask pits (nose plugs).

Yokohama Bay Stars

...The pitchers joint mini camp that began on the 20th at the Bay Stars training facilities will continue on until the 30th.  On Sunday, 22 players, including a number of catchers, attended the mini camp.

Yomiuri Giants

...Sadaharu Oh will likely be in attendance at the Hawks vs. Giants practice game on 2/21.  Shigeo Nagashima will also likely be at the game.  And that means for the first time since 2/24/2009, the two will be seen together on a baseball field.

...Yoshinobu Takahashi has been using soccer cleats during practice -- they apparently don't place as much strain on the legs, hips, and lower back.  Each show also weighs only 50 grams.

Takahashi plans on using them during Spring camp.

...Alex Ramirez will be using a bat with a thicker bat handle this season.  The thicker handle adds 10 grams to the bat, making his new bat weigh in at around 920 grams.

Ramirez is aiming for his 8th consecutive season of 100+ RBIs.

...Tetsuya Yamaguchi is thinking about creating a "throwing day" during Spring camp.  Up until last Spring camp, he kept his pitch count during bullpen sessions to about 50.  But with him shifting to the starting rotation this season, he wants to get his arm in shape by throwing more.  To that end, Yamaguchi is hoping to create a "throwing day" where he'll throw at least 100 pitches in the bullpen.

...Tetsuya Utsumi tossed his first bullpen session on Monday; he threw 24 pitches.  Utsumi mixed in his off-speed pitches and even threw his new cutter.

...Daisuke Nakai hopes he'll have a chance to pull off a dazzling play at third base in front of Shigeo Nagashima during Spring camp.

...Chih-Lung Huang arrived in Tokyo on Monday and told reporters that he picked the Giants (instead of the Majors) because he wanted to play for them ever since he was a kid.